Time banking is a pattern of reciprocal service exchange that uses units of time as currency. It is an example of a complementary monetary system. A time bank, also known as a service exchange, is a community that practices time banking.
The unit of currency, always valued at an hour's worth of any
person's labor, used by these groups has various names, but is generally known
as a time dollar in the U.S. and a time credit in the U.K.
Time banking is
primarily used to provide incentives and rewards for work such as mentoring
children, caring for the elderly, being neighborly—work usually done on a
volunteer basis—which a pure market system devalues. Essentially, the
"time" one spends providing these types of community services earns
"time" that one can spend to receive services. As well as gaining
credits, participating individuals, particularly those more used to being
recipients in other parts of their lives, can potentially gain
confidence,social contact and skills through giving to others.
use time banking as a tool to forge stronger intra-community connections, a
process known as "building social capital."
Time banking had its intellectual genesis in the U.S. in the early 1980s.[...]
Today, 26 countries have active Time Banks. There are 250 Time Banks active in
the U.K. and over 276 Time Banks in the U.S.